Kris Nicolaou - Web Strategist - Founder and CEO of Brain Box
Kris Nicolaou

Custom software vs. off the shelf: What's right for your business?

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Top Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make

At its core, the type of software that you and your employees use on a daily basis is supposed to support and empower the way you like to work. A computer program is more than just a piece of software - it's a tool to be used to perform a job more effectively and with a higher degree of quality than ever.

The problem is that when you try to use software for a task other than the one it was expressly designed for, you tend to run into frustrating problems. The job may get done... but it isn't getting done particularly quickly. Or well.

That, in essence, is the problem with off-the-shelf software in most enterprise environments. You may think you're saving a bit of money by forgoing custom software development services in favor of the purchase of something that already exists, but you're also creating a number of core issues that are certainly worth exploring.

The Problem with Ignoring Custom Software Development

The critical data that your business and its employees are creating on a daily basis is the key to everything you've worked so hard to build. That data contains invaluable insights about not only your organization's performance, but the status of its employees, your relationships with your clients and more.

The problem is that this data needs to be able to freely move across your platform, from one piece of software to another and back again. But when you exclusively leverage off-the-shelf software, this is usually difficult - if it's even possible at all.

The issue is that off-the-shelf software doesn't really integrate well with other programs because it was never designed to do that in the first place. Therefore, data silos start to develop and people have difficulty sharing critical information, which makes communication and collaboration an uphill battle.

You may be able to come up with workarounds to get one program to "speak" to another, but this is usually equal parts difficult and time-consuming. Jobs are taking longer than they should to complete, and again - nothing is getting done particularly well.

The most common example of this is trying to export financial data from a program you're using and into a spreadsheet utility like Microsoft Excel. Is it technically possible? Yes... but it's going to take a tremendous amount of time and will likely be more frustrating than you'd like.

Why Custom Software Development Matters

With custom software development, on the other hand, you're talking about something built from the ground up with your business in mind. Integrations aren't a thing you have to worry about because they can be baked into the very DNA of the program.

But more than that, processes and workflows can be designed and optimized to match the way your people already like to work. They don't have to change the way they do things to make up for the limitations of the program because those limitations were weeded out during the development stage.

What you're left with is something that enables all of your employees to work smarter, not harder - which is an exciting position for any business to be in.

If you'd like to find out more information about the major advantages of custom software development, or if you have any additional questions you'd like to see answered in a bit more detail, please don't hesitate to contact Brain Box Labs today.

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